We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Decherd and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My work-to-life balance used to be very uneven. When I was first starting college at SCAD ATL, I put all of my eggs in one basket and only focused on my work. All I let my brain think about was animation and I convinced myself that was all I needed. It took one of my friends to pull me out of my work schedule to hang out with a group of people who I now consider to be my lifelong friends. From that point, I realized that I needed to be scheduling time for the people in my life that I care about. Now when I don’t hang out with my friends on Friday nights, I feel extra stressed until I can see them again.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a kid, I was drawn to the visual arts because deep down, I wanted to tell stories. I would draw comics about superheroes and zombies with all different kinds of characters. I still have an old folder I kept in the third grade where I kept all of my original characters. When I found animation, I was like, “Oh this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
I loved cartoons but I didn’t really have the focus or drive until I got into college. I was put through the wringer and almost didn’t make it that first year but it created a fire under my ass. I stumbled my way into a few really good opportunities to work with some other great artists and from that point on, I couldn’t slow down.
I really do cherish my time at SCAD because it gave me the environment and peers I needed to really blossom into the artist I am now. Especially in these covid times, I miss being able to wander through classrooms and talk to all different kinds of artists, from live-action filmmakers, to motion graphic artists, to game designers. It also helped that the group of animators I went through SCAD with were all amazing artists who kick ass. I wouldn’t say that I’m super competitive but being around those people really made me want to push harder to be better.
Now when I think of the stories I want to tell now as I’ve grown older, it’s more mundane and rough. Animation as a medium can be colorful and whimsical, and using that to tell a story about something more grounded is very funny to me. Content I produce focuses on being relatable without losing a point of view. I don’t feel the need to present a clean and perfect person on social media and people really respond to it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m definitely more a homebody so I would definitely have plans to have a chill time at home. Watch some good movies and make some good food. But if I had one place that I would want to go to it would be Parkgrounds Coffee shop. One of my absolute favorite places in Atlanta. Half cafe and bar, half dog park. I used to always ditch a day of work to go hang out there with my friends. When I turned 21, it was one of the first places I went to.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Out of all the amazing and supportive people in my life, I would not be were am I am if it was not for my mother. She is such a hardworking women who made sure to keep me moving forward, even if she didn’t really understand what I was aiming for.